To mark #WorldCancerDayCure Leukaemia – a charity long supported by our Principal, Mike Hopkins – has announced plans for five upcoming blood cancer clinical trials over the next 12 months, despite the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
Professor Sir John Bell – Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford and member of the government’s vaccine task force – has given his backing for what he has called the “game-changing” national Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP).
Despite the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of blood cancer clinical trials across the UK, and the £1,500,000 fundraising shortfall Cure Leukaemia faced in 2020 due to the pandemic, TAP enabled a new study named PACE. The study, which examines the effects of COVID-19 and other infections on patients with blood cancer, is to be setup in under one month. Work has also continued on new trials during the pandemic, meaning a further five TAP trials are due to open in the next year.
Speaking about TAP, Professor Sir John Bell said: “Cure Leukaemia’s funding of the UK Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) is a game-changer and increases the access for blood cancer patients to potentially transformative new therapies through the delivery of practice informing clinical trials which not only saves lives but also increases investment into this country’s economy.
We have seen the urgent importance of clinical trials to combat the COVID-19 virus and we must not lose sight of the transformative role networks like TAP play in connecting blood cancer patients in the UK with critically important clinical trials.”
The announcement from Cure Leukaemia came on World Cancer Day (4 February), helping highlight that this vital clinical trial network offers blood cancer patients access to potential lifesaving and practice informing clinical trials.
One of these clinical trials, VICTOR, is a clinical trial for blood cancer patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). VICTOR, which is funded by Cancer Research UK, is due to open at over 40 UK sites (including the 12 TAP sites funded by Cure Leukaemia) in early 2021. It will be co-ordinated by the TAP Hub, which also receives funding from Cure Leukaemia and is based at the Centre for Clinical Haematology in Birmingham.
Cure Leukaemia chief executive James McLaughlin said:
“Despite the ongoing challenges we are facing due to COVID-19, we are keen to highlight on World Cancer Day that pioneering treatments are still being made available to blood cancer patients across the UK. VICTOR is just one of 5 clinical trials due to be opened and delivered by TAP in the next 12 months and to ensure that this network can continue to offer hope to patients we must address the £1,500,000 fundraising shortfall we recorded in 2020.
It is vital that we continue to raise the funds required to sustain this network and give clinicians across the UK the opportunity to trial new and potentially practice informing clinical trials.”
South & City College Birmingham’s Principal, Mike Hopkins, is a long-standing supporter of Cure Leukaemia and a member of The Tour 21 – a team of amateur cyclists taking on the gruelling Tour De France, 1 week ahead of the professionals, in order to raise funds for the charity.
Find out more about Cure Leukaemia’s latest announcement via their website: cureleukaemia.co.uk
To support Mike’s fundraising efforts, you can find out more about The Tour 21 and donate to Cure Leukaemia via the JustGiving page.